Westminster style parliamentary systems remain one of the best forms of governance in the modern world. And yet today, Britain’s democracy is being tested not because of systematic failures but because of human error. Of course, human error can be catastrophic, lest one forget that human error was a primary factor behind the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
Today’s fault in Britain lies among men and women who are unable to settle an ethical dilemma that itself is inevitable in a political system which does not allow for binding referenda. In Britain, all referenda are merely advisory, but this is ultimately no excuse to ignore the will of the people in the real world.
Because of the constitutional doctrine of parliamentary supremacy, Parliament is under no legal obligation to obey a public referendum in the same way it is under no obligation to obey the orders of even a very large petition. And yet, since 1973, the UK Parliament has voluntarily agreed to submit itself to the legislative diktats of the un-elected Commission of what is now known as the European Union. Thus, one can see that whilst for 46 years, hundreds of Parliamentarians have unquestioningly surrendered their supremacy over Britain’s legislative process to a cabal of Brussels elites, they are unwilling to do the same when it comes to temporarily surrendering their supremacy in order to heed the clear instructions of the British people who voted to unambiguously leave the European Union in a referendum.
There is of course a clear ethical solution. If a Parliamentarian wants to at long last correct a flawed and seemingly permanent submission to a foreign bureaucracy by just one time submitting to till will of the British people, one ought to support a full Brexit which would result on the UK exiting all EU institutions and beginning an era of trade with the EU on standard WTO terms. If one cannot bring him or herself to do this, there is another simple solution: resign from the Commons and trigger a by-election in which it would be perfectly right for the resigned MP to stand.
With all of this in mind, it is easy to see that even in a parliamentary democracy that has been honed through centuries of trials and tribulations, an ethical and pragmatic crisis of democracy can still emerge. Therefore, how can British parliamentarians expect those in developing countries to live in perfect democracies when even the Mother of All Parliaments has clearly come up short during the Brexit process?
In a sane world, this would be a moment when British foreign policy makers would reflect upon and feel shame at the fact that they have sent troops to war against foreign states on the illegal justification that they were insufficiently democratic. The last thing Britain needs in 2019 would be a foreign invasion to settle the current crisis in democracy and on that I’m sure even the currency group of Parliamentarians could unanimously agree.
Therefore, while international law does not give anyone the right to invade another country in order to enforce a perfect version of democracy at gunpoint, there is no ethical justification for such things irrespective of the totally clear legal position.
Therefore, the internal solution to the Brexit deadlock must certainly be a peaceful and a democratic one that involves implementing the people’s will as soon as possible. If this does not happen, there is a real risk that public dejection could turn into something more than peaceful protest. But then again, for decades one has been led to believe that non-peaceful demonstrations against a deadlocked democracy can only happen in countries the likes of which the UK tends to invade. One needn’t push the example further for the point to be made.
The fact of the matter is that only a democratic solution to the Brexit deadlock is ethical and once this is hopefully made, Parliamentarians and the wider political class can reflect profoundly on the foolishness and wickedness implicit in going to war to promote a perfect ideal of democracy which does not even fully exist in that most perfect Parliament of all.